Thursday, September 22, 2011
1) Olsen, Penny and Leo Joseph. Stray Feathers: Reflections on the Structure, Behaviour and Evolution of Birds. 2011. CSIRO Publishing. Paperback: 286 pages. Price: $66.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Stray Feathers showcases some of the remarkable adaptations of Australian birds. A brief introduction describes how evolution shapes form and function, followed by a series of vignettes illustrating the wondrous variety of forms and functions shaped by evolution. For example, did you know that Barn Owls can hunt in absolute darkness and that cuckoos commence incubation before their egg is laid?
Sections include anatomy and physiology; the senses; giving voice; tongues talking; plumage; getting around; finding and handling food; optimising foraging and feeding; reducing competition; using ‘tools’; communicating; quality vs quantity; courtship; nests; parental care; chicks; and living together.
The book is superbly illustrated with black and white drawings of a range of birds, making it a worthy addition to the bookshelves of bird lovers everywhere.
RECOMMENDATION: If you have an interest in the natural history of Australian birds, you'll want this book.